| by Victor Cherubim
( April 18, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) To Christians and non Christians alike, Good Friday is a special day. On Good Friday, Christians commemorate the suffering, passion and death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many believers spend this day in fast, prayer, repentance and meditation on the sacrifice and agony of Christ on the Cross.
However, to some non believers, it means a “spiritual” retreat to the coast, with cars clogging roads, towing caravans with tailbacks for a nice long weekend, to others it is a day to see local football with the entire family, and to still others, it signals the end of the Lent fasting season and the await of Easter Sunday.
It was not until the fourth century AD that Christians began observing and commemorating this important day in the Churches calendar. Now Good Friday is commemorated around Christendom.
According to John Ochidi, in Religion and Spirituality
“Good Friday is good for all concerned for the following reasons:
1. “Good for Jesus, because it was on that day that He finished the assignment that brought Him physically to planet earth.”
2. “Good for the whole world, because from the death and resurrection of Jesus, up until the time of rapture, whoever put his faith in Him will be saved from the penalty of sin, because of that mournful, but Good Friday.”
Passion Plays on Good Friday
Most everyone has heard of the ways to commemorate Good Friday not only in the village of Oberammergau, in Bavaria, Germany, but also in many Catholic Church grounds in and around Negombo, and other places in Sri Lanka.
In Oberammergau, the Passion Play of Jesus was first performed in 1634, was the result of a vow made by its inhabitants that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague, then sweeping the region, they would perform a “Passion play” every ten years. The last performance was in 2010 when half of the inhabitants of this village
(2000) took part to “bring to life” the story of Jesus and His crucifixion, and to audiences that flocked from around the world.
This year, on Good Friday, we in London will witness the 90 minute theatrical production of the Life of Christ at the Open Air venue at Trafalgar Square open to all without charge. An adapted version of the Passion will be enacted at 12 noon and 3.15 pm, by the Wintershall Players from Surrey, similar to the three previous plays on Good Friday every year since 2010.Crowds are expected to attend as in previous years.
Down the road so to speak, at Westminster Cathedral, the newly appointed Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Leader of the Roman Catholic Church of England and Wales and Archbishop of Westminster will be conducting a Service of Remembrance on Good Friday. The Church of England Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Justin Welby will also be at Good Friday service at Canterbury.
Traditions at Easter
It is not only Hot Cross buns, but Easter Eggs which matter at Easter time in UK for children and the young who go egg hunting. There is also the tradition of Easter bunnies and other Easter events like jousting and Morris dancing and Celtic Music and Dance.
Long before Jesus was born, some believe that Easter got its name from the Goddess of Spring who was called “Eostre.” However, for the first time in many years, Western Christians, following the Gregorian calendar and Eastern Orthodox Churches, following the Julian calendar, will “jointly” celebrate the most important Christian festival of the Risen Christ on Easter on the same Sunday,20 April 2014.